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Winter Travel Tips for a Gatlinburg Getaway in the Smoky Mountains

The forests rest quietly in hibernation under the soft white blanket of snow as you ride slowly on the winding road to your charming Gatlinburg cabin nestled in the winter wonderland of the Smoky Mountains. Stand in awe, as your breath visibly rises in the air, of the snow-capped mountain peaks or frozen streams from the back deck of your cabin while you sip on hot chocolate.

While this snowy paradise is incredibly serene and beautiful, it can also mean more hazardous traveling conditions on the roads. Additionally, wintertime is a very busy time of year in the Smoky Mountains, with tons of Christmas, New Year’s Eve, and Valentine’s Day events that can draw in heavier flows of traffic. Cabins for YOU provides a wide range of options when it comes to location, amenities, and size, making the search for your perfect winter cabin a lot easier!

While expanding on some of the more frequent concerns about traveling to the Smoky Mountains during the winter here, feel free to call any of our area and cabin experts at Cabins for YOU anytime between 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. EST at 1-800-684-7865. Our Vacation Planners know the area backwards and forwards, and they’re always ready to help!

Traveling to Your Cabin and Area Attractions

The Smoky Mountains area experiences a range of temperature and weather changes, from mild days of 50-degree weather to cold, snowy days below freezing. Here’s a list of quick pointers to keep in mind when planning your travels and stay in the Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg areas:

  • Choose the most appropriate vehicle

A 4-wheel drive vehicle is most travelers’ best option for navigating the icy roads during times of heavier rainfall and snowfall. While checking the weather forecasts is a necessary step to preparing for your vacation, it can still change from day to day. It would be much safer to go ahead and take a 4-wheel drive or sport utility vehicle to skip any unwanted travel hazards. If you are flying into Knoxville, be sure to rent a car capable of taking on the terrain.

  • Cabin Location

Maybe you don’t have access to a 4-wheel drive vehicle; don’t fret or reschedule your winter vacation! Simply book one of our many cabins that are close to the downtown attractions of Pigeon Forge or Gatlinburg. Check your cabin description (or ask your Vacation Planner) about the type of driveway or roads you may find on the way to your cabin.

  • Travel Dates and Weather Patterns

Checking the weather patterns for the dates of your Smoky Mountain vacation is a must, especially during the cooler months so you can pack the appropriate clothing. Be sure to re-check the weather patterns close to your travel dates to plan daily excursions like a beautiful winter hike to the magical ice formations of Rainbow Falls or Laurel Falls!

  • Holiday and Area Events

The wildlife of the Smoky Mountains may be going into hibernation, but the cities of Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, and Sevierville come to life with Christmas and holiday cheer from late November to early February. When making your travel plans to the cabin and back and forth to area attractions, be sure to keep the traffic in mind! Roads may be icy, and adding hundreds of extra cars during holiday events may make navigating the roads a little more stressful. Check our seasonal event page and our blog for specific times and dates of these wintertime extravaganzas!

Choosing the Right Cabin

When it comes to size, location, and amenities, Cabins for YOU offers hundreds of cabins to choose from, so it is a good idea to have a checklist for the perfect cabin to stay in during your winter vacation in the Smoky Mountains. Listed below are a few ideas to keep in mind while you are perusing our wide selection of charming, luxury, and homey mountain lodges.

  • Size & Price

Settle comfortably into a spacious cabin that’s the perfect size for your Gatlinburg getaway. We have intimate 1-2 bedroom cabins that are great for honeymoons and romantic weekends; spacious 3-5 bedroom cabins that fit families and small groups; and large-group lodges that boast enough room for retreats and reunions!

We also have budget-friendly picks when you want to have some extra cash for attractions downtown and pet-friendly cabins when you don’t want to go with boarding your pup.

  • Location

Whether it’s close to downtown Pigeon Forge, just outside of Gatlinburg, or on a mountain ridge, the ideal cabin for your wintertime travels is waiting to fit your dreamy snow-covered mountain vacation. If you are not able to find a 4-wheel drive or sport utility vehicle to utilize, a cozy cabin close to the downtown areas or locations with level, paved driveways would be your most comfortable choice. Don’t worry, just because your vehicle may not be suitable to make the trek up to mountain ridgelines does not mean sacrificing incredible mountain views!

  • Amenities

While the excitement of downtown attractions and events may keep you out of your cabin for most of the day, add some extra amusement to your cabin downtime with our wide range of amenities. Kids and teens will never fuss out of boredom during rainy days or in between excursions thanks to pool tables, foosball tables, and arcade games located in many of the cabin rec rooms.

Save money on expensive theaters and book a cabin with its own private showing room with tiered seating, comfortable couches, and large flatscreens or projectors! Keep your exercise routine going while on vacation and swim a few laps in the indoor pools in a number of our mountain cabins. Cooking for a large group of friends and family during the holidays? Find one of our cabins that boasts tons of dining space for a group!  

Wintertime Happenings

Some of the largest holidays of the year happen in the wintertime, which makes a snowy mountain cabin a great choice to come and enjoy all the spirited fun of the Smoky Mountains during this magical time of year.

Skiing in Ober Gatlinburg

During the colder season, Ober Gatlinburg opens her slopes for fun wintertime sports like skiing, snowboarding, snow tubing, and ice skating! From the experienced to the very first-timers, Ober offers multiple slopes for different levels of skiers, along with lessons, equipment rentals, and a full-service ski and snowboard store!

Smoky Mountain Christmas at Dollywood

Stare in awe of the Christmas spirit come-to-life among millions of lights, delicious treats, Christmas classics live onstage, and all the well-known North Pole characters! Experience Christmas like never before while riding roller coasters and carnival rides lit by the rainbows of holiday lights. Group discounts are available, so bring the whole family and all your friends to share in the Christmas of a lifetime!


The winter season gets kicked off every year with a large multi-day, multi-city extravaganza! Across the cities of Sevierville, Pigeon Forge, and Gatlinburg, watch multiple million-plus light holiday parades march in, ushering in winter. From Santa photo ops to a delicious Chili Cook-off in Gatlinburg, this is truly a monumental time of year in the Smoky Mountains. Book your cabin today for some of your favorite wintertime memories to be made!